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Big jump in violence against women at work

Published tisdag 17 april 2012 kl 17.38
Nearly half of all nurses and caretakers are subjected to threats and violence in a nyear. Photo: Erik G Svensson/Scanpix.

Threats and violence against women at work has become more common, according to a new dissertation at the Institute of Criminology at Stockholm University.

One explanation can be that cutbacks in public sector work like healthcare and schools have made the jobs that are staffed predominately by women more dangerous.

"The pattern clearly shows the increase in violence that began in the 1980s and picked up in pace during the 1990s while we saw a worsening of women's' working environments in the welfare sector," Sofia Wikman, who wrote the dissertation, tells Swedish Radio.

Wikman has researched all the polls and interview studies on threat and violence that were undertaken by Statistics Sweden, the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, and the Swedish Work Environment Authority. She found that violence and threats had increased at specific places of work.

"It can be at the Swedish Work Authority, the Social Insurance Agency, institutions that have undergone drastic changes over the past few years," says Wikman.

Nearly half of all nurses and caretakers within the healthcare industry have been subjected to threats and violence during any year.

Wikman says the new research shows that politicians need to change their view of how to stop the threats and violence. "I've looked at what people who work in these industries want," she says. "Since the 1980s they've wanted more staff on hand. It's really that black and white. It's about psychosocial measures and not about hiring more security guards and putting thicker glass in reception areas."

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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